US retail has, as expected, confirmed that buying a game digitally for the PlayStation Vita will be cheaper than buying a physical version of the same title.
This price disparity is already established in Japan and will, in all likelihood, also be the case when the handheld arrives in the UK on February 22nd.
ShackNews has information from a price list for Best Buy which cites several examples of these price differences – all of which see digital games (or at least cards containing a code with which to download them) selling for 10 per cent less than a full boxed copy on a proprietary memory card.
"I can confirm that there will be a discount on the downloadable PS Vita titles from PSN,” a Sony spokesperson confirmed. Exact details have not yet been revealed, but be on the lookout for an announcement in the very near future."
That a download will cost less than a box, manual and memory card is no surprise (in fact, one could argue the price difference should be greater than 10 per cent when the raw material cost is considered) but there is another side to strategy.
The more accustomed consumers become with buying games digitally, the more retail's strength decreases. Yes, buying card codes is great for retail, but how many consumers will continue to do so when they can just as easily download a title directly from PSN, cutting out the need to visit the High Street?
The other obvious implication is for pre-owned software. You can't trade in a digital copy. Depending on your position, this is either a masterstroke from Sony or a significant blow to the machine's potential software sales.